Howard Fischer Lands CIO for Jefferson University Hospitals

Howard Fischer CIO Nassar Nizami Jefferson University Hospitals

November 1, 2017 – Executive search firm Howard Fischer Associates (HFA) has placed Nassar Nizami as chief information officer of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

“At a time of immense change in healthcare, we’re delighted to welcome Nassar as a leader for Jefferson’s focus on innovation, technology, and informational science,” said Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. “He will lead our strategy for creating the technological platforms of the future.”

Mr. Nizami comes to Jefferson with broad experience in systems integration resulting from recent mergers of large academic medical centers and his operational expertise in instituting successful IT governance and structure programs. Most recently, he was vice president for information technology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Prior to that, he served in several senior IT roles at Yale New Haven Health System. He was instrumental at both institutions as he managed the systems integration and alignment of technology needs resulting from mergers with partner organizations.

In his new role, Mr. Nizami is responsible for leveraging technology across the enterprise. He will initially focus on aligning IS&T resources to priority initiatives identified in operational integration work plans that have been developed through Jefferson’s relationship with GE Healthcare. He will be initiating an IS&T strategic planning process to prioritize the enterprise’s technology needs and align them with Jefferson’s integrated strategic and financial planning process.

Jefferson University Hospitals and Thomas Jefferson University are partners in providing clinical and compassionate care for patients in the Philadelphia region, educating future health professionals in a variety of disciplines.

Howard Fischer Associates, a Philadelphia-based recruiter focused on placing key executives in functional areas, including sales, marketing, engineering, research & development, operations, information technology, human resources, business development and finance, has completed a number of senior-level searches for clients ranging from BNY Mellon, Tyco InternationalComcast, Google, Facebook, Juniper Networks, Eastman Kodak Company, Rovi Corp., and Netflix to Penn Mutual, Ticketmaster Entertainment and Yahoo!

CIO Recruiting

The chief information officer is considered among the most strategic roles in any organization. Executive search consultants who specialize in recruiting for the position say that the best CIOs can dramatically differentiate a company’s offering in the market, while a poorly performing one can be an organization’s single point of failure. Still, headhunting within the function remains challenging, and skilled, C-suite IT professionals are among the toughest to find.

All the same, CIO hiring and recruiting information technology teams are on the riseNearly a quarter (22 percent) of U.S. CIOs plan to expand their IT teams, according to the Robert Half Technology “IT Hiring Forecast Trend Report.” It represents a three point rise from the beginning of last year and an eight percentage point jump from one year ago.

“Organizations are getting the go-ahead on more technology projects, prompting them to make strategic hires,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “However, technology leaders continue to struggle to find highly skilled talent in a market with low unemployment. They seek IT professionals with specialized skills, especially in the areas of cloud computing, data analytics, mobile strategies and cybersecurity.”

The CIO is enjoying unprecedented influence, and the role is being stretched in many directions, according to Albert Ellis, CEO of the Harvey Nash Group. “From grappling with an increasing cyber security threat, to working with the board on innovation and digital transformation, CIOs are dealing with a more varied range of challenges than ever before, many of which are far, far away from traditional IT. Adaptability, influencing skills and an ability to keep a clear head in uncertain times are becoming increasingly important business skills for today’s CIO.”

In recent months, a number of organizations have turned to executive search firms to help them find top flight CIOs. Here are a few of the top assignments tracked by Hunt Scanlon Media:

McDermott & Bull placed Eric Wilson as CIO with SAFE Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in California. The search was led by Brandon Biegenzahn, president of the firm and co-chair of its financial institutions practice, along with associate principal consultant Michelle Davis and senior recruiting associate Shree Thakarar.

The Human Capital Group recruited David Bernard as senior vice president and CIO for Dean Foods. Steve Hayes, founder and senior partner, led the assignment. Mr. Bernard joins Dean Foods from PepsiCo, where he most recently served as a member of their global executive IT leadership team. 

West Virginia University appointed Barbara Dawson as associate provost for information technology and CIO. The firm enlisted Next Generation Executive Search to fill this top IT role. Mary Beth Baker and Phil Goldstein, managing partners at Next Generation, led the assignment.

TillmanCarlson recruited Scott Cousins as CIO of Roadrunner Transportation Systems. Founder Rob Tillman and managing director Kelly Carlson led the assignment. Mr. Cousins is in charge of all information technology solutions and services at Roadrunner. Previously, he was CIO of KeHE Distributors.

Next Generation Executive Search has been retained by West Virginia University to lead its search for a CIO and associate provost for information technology. Managing partners Mary Beth Baker and Phil Goldstein are leading the assignment. The school said it is seeking an inspiring leader for the position who will provide a strong vision for its information technology services.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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